Farms of the Future: Alphabet-Backed Vertical Farming Startup Plans New Site in Arlington

New York-based Bowery Farming is a vertical farming startup that aims to lead "the next generation of agriculture." Valued at $2.3 billion and backed by Alphabet's VC investment arm GV, it will create 100 jobs at its new indoor farm in Arlington—where software, sensors, and machine learning will help things grow.

With fresh new funding, a vertical farming startup is planting roots in Arlington.

New York’s Bowery Farming announced plans to expand South, placing one of its newest indoor smart farms in Arlington and creating with it more than 100 jobs.

“The addition of Bowery’s Arlington farm to our network is a critical next chapter in our growth,” said Irving Fain, founder and CEO of Bowery Farming, in a statement. “It will expand our reach and ability to be a reliable and sustainable source of local produce for more communities. We’re leading the next generation of agriculture, and this new location further accelerates our momentum.”

Will serve e-commerce and grocery stores within 200-mile radius

The vertical farm, set to open in the first quarter of next year, will be located in a new industrial space on South Cooper St. and serve e-commerce and grocery store customers within a 200-mile radius. Bowery also announced plans to open a new indoor farm south of Atlanta, adding to three others it currently operates on the East Coast.

Earlier this month, Arlington’s City Council voted to approve an economic development incentive package that includes a 35% reimbursement on city ad valorem property tax revenue for the next seven years, as well as waiving building permit fees for equipment and machinery installation.

“Strategic economic development allows Arlington to build its commercial tax base while keeping the tax rate low,” Arlington’s Office of Communications wrote in a release.

Farming with software, sensors, and machine learning

The startup plans to use 100% renewable energy and water recapture technology in its Arlington vertical farm. Bowery said it will be powered by its proprietary BoweryOS farm operating system, which integrates software, sensors, and machine learning to help automate operations.

The expansion is being fueled by a $150 million credit facility deal led by investment firm KKR that Bowery landed in January, bringing its total to more than $647 million since launching in 2015. Other Bowery backers include GV (formerly Google Ventures, the VC investment arm of Alphabet Inc.), Fidelity Management & Research Company, Temasek, and General Catalyst.

Valued at $2.3 billion

Bowery said it saw its revenue double in 2021, with brick-and-mortar sales at its more than 800 grocery store customers increasing more than 750% from 2020. Also last year, the company expanded its research and development efforts, launching its innovation hub Farm X in New Jersey to help accelerate the commercialization of new crops. According to Tech Crunch, Bowery Farming was valued at $2.3 billion as of October.

“There is enormous economic opportunity that comes with supporting our mission to democratize access to local, pesticide-free protected produce, and now we’re ready to continue our growth more rapidly,” Fain said in January.

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